"Cheers to living in Neverland" - Budapest 2017
When we arrived in Budapest, we had no idea of what to expect. The only thing we knew was that we would have to party - really hard. Budapest is well known in the travel community for being a party city, and man did it live up to its reputation.
After we arrived at our hostel, we dropped our bags and immediately started looking for a bar crawl for that night. We found one that looked awesome, got ready, and headed over to the meeting point. Unfortunately, there were not enough people there so the bar crawl didn't happen. Fortunately, the guys running the bar crawl were super nice and took us to their favorite bar instead. After a few beers, some tequila, and a Jägerbomb or two, we had become best friends with them. The next 5 days were a drunken, glittery, beautiful mess.
Where We Stayed
The Hive, like many of the hostels in Budapest, is known as a party hostel. We were super excited to have a lit few days in one of the wildest cities in the world. Our livers had recovered and we were ready to party, and The Hive was the perfect place for us to do that. We stayed in a 6 person, all female dorm with an en-suite bathroom. It was clean and comfortable, nothing special but also nothing to complain about. The hostel had a fully stocked kitchen, a common area with TVs and computers, and a huge bar in the center of it all. The staff was super helpful with giving us directions and telling us things to do. If you're looking for a fun time, it is practically guaranteed if you stay at The Hive. Read more about our stay here.
What To Eat
The first place we ate in Budapest was at Karavan, and we went back multiple times because it was that good!! It is essentially an outdoor lot that has been blocked off and decked out with food trucks, gardens, and twinkly lights. It was so adorable and delicous and I want to go back everyday for the rest of my life. They had a huge variety of food choices from traditional Hungarian goulash to Italian cuisine to massive BBQ bacon burgers. One of the most unique things we tried here was from a truck called "Paneer" and it was literally a burger made of cheese. Instead of beef, there was a slab of fried cheese of your choosing. I definitely reccommend the smoked cheese with bacon. It was BOMB - I still think about it everyday <3
This is a traditional Hungarian meal that we had never heard of until arriving in Budapest. We happened to be there during Hungarian National Day (stumbling upon celebrations seems to be a thing we do) so we got street Langos (pronounced Langosh) at their festival. It is basically light, buttery dough that is deep fried, coated with garlic and oil, and topped with shredded cheese and sour cream. WHAT. How do we not have this in America? It is the pinnacle of fried, cheesy goodness.
Another traditional Hungarian food, this is one of those #foodporn creations you see all over Pinterest. It is dough that is wrapped around a cylinder and baked over a coal-burning fire until golden brown. It is crunchy on the outside and so fluffy on the inside. It is then rolled in a sugar of your choosing. I got cinnamon sugar and it was delicious! These are super filling, though, and you can definietly split one between a few people.
Shout-out to all my fellow brunchers - this place is for you. They are open all day from breakfast to dinner, but we strolled in, semi-hungover, for a brunch. And even in our foggy daze, this is a meal we will NEVER forget. The decor is super adorable and hip and the food is fresh and delicious. I got french toast (boring, right?) but it was unlike anything I've ever had before. Brooke got Turkish Eggs, which is basically just poached eggs, herbed Greek yogurt, and chili butter. YUM. We each also got an iced tea from their extensive, home-brewed tea menu and fresh squeezed mimosas that were delicious and effective in getting us well on our way to being drunk again (it's Budapest, don't judge). If you are ever in Budapest and like brunch, this is a MUST. And please, bring some back for me <3
We had been told about Tanti by a guy we met in Florence, and he was extremely adamant about us trying it. Neither one of us had ever been to a Michelin Starred restaurant before, so we were excited to try it (especially in such a cheap city). The atmosphere was pretty casual and comfortable and the prices were so reasonable! We had 3 courses and a bottle of wine for about $35 each. The food was a bit fancy-schmancey for my taste, but delicious nonetheless. Brooke is a total food nerd, so she was in her paradise. I highly recommend the mixed berry dessert, and the potato foam that came with the venison dish was like heaven on a fork.
Another place to get drunk! The guys we met on our first night told us about this place, and they were super fun, so we decided to give it a try. Basically, for one set price, it is an all-you-can-eat AND all-you-can-drink buffet for 2 hours. We each had several plates of food and several bottles of champagne. The food was delicious and there were so many options from a salad bar to cheeses to chinese dishes to a dessert bar. We left feeling very full and very tipsy and very satisfied.
What To Do
The turkish baths are a must do when you're in Budapest. There are several options, but we decided to go to Széchenyi Baths located in City Park. We had a lot of fun exploring the seemingly endless amounts of indoor and outdoor pools found in this giant complex. We met up with some friends we had met the night before and spent the day recovering and relaxing. The mineral water in the baths is a little funky at first, but you get used to it quickly and it's meant to be really revitalzing. We went on a cold day and it was perfect for soaking in the heated, outdoor baths. There is even a restaurant here so you can literally stay all day.
Budapest Party Bookers
We were lucky enought to come across this company on our first night in Budapest when we tried to go on the bar crawl run by them. Unfortunately the bar crawl didn't happen, but the guys running it (shoutout Chris and Glen <3) offered to take us to their favorite bar. We ended up having an amazing time and talking with them all night! They told us all about the boat party offered by their company, so the next night we decided to do that. After the boat party, they told us about an open mic night they had the next night, so we decided to do that as well (do you see a pattern here?). Basically, our time in Budapest would not have been the same if we had not met them that first night. We hung out with them every night we were there and still talk to them all the time! This company is filled with amazing people who will make sure you get really drunk and have the most amazing time.
The Castle District
The castle district is located on the Buda side of the river and is definitely worth the walk acorss. There is so much history to take in as you stroll through the cobblestone streets and admire old buildings. There are several museums to check out here as well. We spent a day wandering through this district and admiring the views of the river and other side of the city. Although we partied a lot, we also made time to learn about the impressive history of the city and went on a tour that took us through the Castle District. Absolutely worth checking it out.
On our way home from The Castle District, after accidentally spending the afternoon at the National Hungarian Day celebration, we decided to walk the 45 minutes across the river and back to our hostel. It was beautiful out and we wanted to enjoy the evening in the city.
We had plans to go out that night, so we stopped in a liquor store and bought a bottle of wine. And, being the responsible adults we are, also a giant water bottle each. We remembered a Chimney Cake stand that one of our tour guides had told us about and decided to stop and get some of that, as well. Now, picture me walking down the sidewalk at about 4 pm on a Wednesday night. A bottle of wine in one hand, a huge water bottle tucked under my arm, and eating a Chimney Cake. I aready had a lot going on, but naturally I thought it would be a good idea to try and GoPro the moment.
I began to dig around in my pocket for the camera, found it, dropped it, bent over to pick it up and, in the least graceful way possible, dropped and shattered the bottle of wine. In the middle of a crowded sidewalk. On a Wednesday afternoon. My pride was as broken as the bottle on the ground. I picked up the pieces and hurried along. Good thing a bottle of wine is only $3 in Budapest.